Rich Hoarders Are Destroying Our Society

It is just amazing, watching how passive the US public is with current trends as the rich get much, much richer during a depression while we struggle with the Japanese problem: so little in taxes, the government plunges into deeper and deeper debt on ZIRP lending rates.  The cure is simple: tax the rich heavily.  The political will to do this is vanishingly small as in both countries, the government is held hostage to the very rich who use Japan and the US as floating platforms for increasing their personal wealth even as the population supporting this, dies off or suffers.

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One of the most wretched things in all of this is how the promise of future easy wealth is held in front of the noses of the majority via state-sanctioned gambling operations and lotteries while the real money flows effortlessly into private coffers.  People hope for a magical future where they have no more troubles thanks to winning something that requires zero skill, zero effort.  The curse of gambling has so permeated the culture, we cannot imagine living any other way.  Like any addiction, it is easy to do and then impossible to stop since it appeals to part of our brains we have the least control over: our most inner parts where greed, fear and love all live in restless conjunction.

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In addition to greed, fear and love existing in the amygdala, religious beliefs are planted there, too.  The amygdala sits like a pair of hidden golden eggs dead center in the deepest parts of our brain structure.  One of the more curious aspects of the evolution of this troublesome part of the brain is, in our nearest surviving relatives in nature, the ones we haven’t killed off yet, the gorillas and chimpanzees, have much smaller amygdalas.
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Evidently, these evolved in order to cope with human social relations.  Since Nature operates on some very cruel levels, the reason we evolved rather quickly, this crazy emotional nucleus, is due to severe stress during the beginning of the Ice Ages.  That is, people who didn’t have these complex emotional attachments to things, died off or were killed off or couldn’t have access to sex in some way (usually by being killed and possibly eaten).
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The large amygdala receptors grew in size rapidly due to people who are more prone to the emotional effects were more successful than people who were unattached to these effects. Namely, what was there to fight over?  And what was used to survive?  The answer is obvious: humans who could spend endless time honing their weapons, building these weapons, talking about hunting and killing, dealing with not losing these valuable weapons, etc. were more successful than humans that dropped their sticks and stones carelessly and didn’t trouble much about clinging to them.
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That is, our minds are full of fears of losing things.  Monkeys and apes don’t worry much about losing things.  They pick up and drop things on whim.  Their brains don’t worry about ‘Where did I put down that stick?’ hardly at all if at all.  They live minute by minute with only thinking about some social relations with each other which often requires minimal group efforts beyond simply hanging out together, most of the time.  Humans, on the other hand, have very complex society systems. There is no such thing as a socially primitive tribe, even the most isolated Stone Age tribes have intensely complex languages and beliefs.
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To be able to produce and above all, keep track of one’s tools causes greater and greater stress the more tools one has to track.  Addiction to worrying about extraneous tools and things is the goad that keeps us going, internally.  For example, when the amygdala is damaged, we get the phenomenon  of ‘hoarding’ where people growing slowly senile accumulate mountains of trash and are filled with intense fear and loathing of loss of things, no matter how trivial.  Anyone seeking to throw away even one piece of garbage is attacked ferociously.  Defending one’s tools for survival is a very powerful force in the brain.  Hoarders, for example, due to probably excess out of control activity in the amygdala part of the brain will even drive away children or abuse them until they flee, which is anti-survival.
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Now, on to the news while viewing it as a chronicle of malfunctioning amygdala brain systems leading people into doing crazy things.  First, the connection between religion and anxiety about the future meshes nearly perfectly with lust, hoarding and reburying or hiding wealth deep in the ground: ‘Billions worth’ of treasure found in Indian temple  and  Indian guru’s hoarded riches raise doubts over charitable works.  The Catholic Church went from doing ‘good deeds’ to taxing the poor and then first, building public cathedrals which was of some use to finally, burying this wealth in vaults and caves and the latter Popes became alternately hoarders or wild spending on their own luxuries.
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One of the pet beliefs of the far right is, the poor will get religious charity and thus, not starve to death.  This is ludicrous and even willfully childish since anyone who visits a society that runs this way quickly ends up tripping over dead bodies in the streets or seeing starving begging children all over the place.  The billions buried in the shrine in India was eked out of the public over the centuries and giving these trinkets and gold stuff to the temple was done in order to die correctly.  For of all things the amygdala fears the most, it is death.  Clinging to hoards or giving to a hoard is seen as some sort of immortality machine.
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In mythology, dragons live forever while hoarding golden wealth.  We know from reality that the rich rulers of many civilizations, when they died, attempted to take their worldly wealth with them.  This includes weapons as well as living creatures and fellow humans.  Mass sacrifices often accompanied burials of wealth.  Much of what passes for ‘archeology’ is the digging up or finding in caves, these various items buried with the dead.  This is so universal, bodies buried with various bits and pieces of wealth and goods are found all over the planet.

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Indeed, the search for pre-homo sapiens tools is fairly easy, they were dropped all over Africa randomly.  The stone tool would be made, used and then lost again.  We don’t know how often the searching eyes of early humanoids were concentrated on finding and picking up lost tools and reusing them.  I do suspect that the survivors who were most successful were those humanoids who didn’t lose their tools in the first place. But keeping track of them when one has no real ‘home’ or central holding place is very difficult and the cave dwellers probably were the first to have a fairly secure central tool holding place which could be defended.

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Stealing tools when the owner isn’t watching is the easiest way to have tools.  Vigilance is part of survival and this means worrying about someone stealing one’s tools.  This, in turn, leads to driving off other tribes and patrolling the tribe to stop some members from being careless about tools and then losing them.  Expelling those who lost tools would be part of evolution and I believe, was a big factor in the fast evolution of humanoids who used tools from about 500,000 years ago to today.
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Greed is a huge driving force in humans as is the fear of losses.  The whole of our political system is run on greed and fear.  Unity of purpose is hard to gain when people who have accumulated huge hoards wish to defend these no matter what.  This is why, in the recent economic crisis, the solution to the problems caused by economic exploitation has been to cut survival services to the people who are not genetically related to the very rich or powerful.  Basically, the hoarders/tribalists are indifferent to who dies so long as it isn’t their own immediate tribe or social structure (the elites).  So, in the midst of a depression, they urge people to hoard and to not share.
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This is why we are heading towards public bankruptcy while the GOP fiddles.  They showed no interest in balancing any budget in the past but only are aimed at gaining more power by bankrupting a Democratic president.  This game of ‘chicken’ will end up with a lot of broken eggs on the highway and lots of dead people.

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Unfortunately, Obama proposes cuts to Social Security  which is no surprise since he, like all in DC, works for the richest people in the world, not the voters.  Since the voters see no ‘pro-Social Security’ party, they are left flummoxed.

President Obama has said he wants to use a looming deadline over raising the amount Congress is allowed to borrow to work a deal with Republicans on something “big.”

And now he plans to propose major changes to Social Security as part of that “grand bargain,” which he hopes will reduce the deficit by as much as $4 trillion over the next decade, administration sources tell CBS News…

…Mr. Obama believes that a larger deal would actually be easier to get through Congress. His thinking, administration officials say, is this: Any major deal, whether it’s for $2 trillion in cuts or $4 trillion in cuts, will cause significant pain for both parties. But a larger deal allows backers to argue that despite their misgivings, they’ve taken a major step toward dealing with the deficit and debt problem.

He does propose higher taxes on the rich and closing the many loopholes they built into the tax systems like rats chewing up houses, these tax loopholes cost them money!  They don’t mind spending parts of their massive hoards in order to increase their hoards but stopping these dirty deals will mean the government really will tap into their hoards and ‘touch’ their stuff which sets of huge waves of rage deep inside of their brains. Uncontrollable rage, a rage so immense, it would also disinherit their own direct children if the amygdala parts of the brain says, ‘Your children are evil, they are touching your hoard!’

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The decision has been made: just as massive numbers of youth are put in prison often for the most spurious of reasons, they being found useless as workers for the elites, so it is even more so with the elderly: they are, by definition, useless.  So, the decision to eliminate them will be made eventually.  Since we still have some dim form of democracy, the removal of services from the elderly and the young in favor of supporting the building of bigger and bigger hoards for the very rich, will not be so obvious in form.
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For the last few decades since Reagan, inflation statistics have been changed deliberately to starve out people on fixed incomes or welfare or minimum wage which always falls further and further behind the degradation of the currency used to calibrate ‘wealth’.  The rich don’t care since their ability to accumulate hoards has been growing rapidly despite their destruction of the value of the currency.
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Here is an interesting graph which I greatly altered to show the different eras we have lived in during the last century:  The Burning Platform

It is obvious, the US has been running things so that hoards of the rich get greater and greater and more and more social services are sacrificed so these immense and ultimately useless hoards can be even greater:  Executive Pay, Revisited: Even Higher Than It First Seemed – Graphic – NYTimes.com

 

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According to figures provided by Equilar, a firm that tracks compensation data, median pay for chief executives at 200 of the nation’s largest companies rose 23 percent last year, much higher than the preliminary figure of 12 percent calculated in early April. Nearly every component of pay was up, including cash bonuses and stock grants. Media executives, in particular, dominated the top of the highest-paid list, with 6 among the top 10.

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Yes, the people who saw their wealth grow the most were those who control the public conversation!  The other day, I sat with my father in law watching his favorite TV show about Wall Street news and they had this insane ‘debate’ about taxing the rich.  All the ‘debaters’ had the exact same position: they all thought that taxing the rich was a terrible idea!  They all said, we would lose luxury jobs if the rich were taxed. That poor people wouldn’t find jobs unless the rich were not taxed.  This insane idea is the main mantra of the mainstream media.

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Recently, the NYT was half-sold to one of the richest monopolists in Mexico.  The newspaper does have stories about the rich getting richer but won’t talk about why this is happening.  Instead, it is sort like helpless, the solution is to spend more government money aka Japan, not taxing the rich very heavily.  As we see above in the graph, when public taxes were high and we had unions and tariffs, the middle class prospered.  As we go back into the free trade/no taxes/low interest regimes, we see the very rich get very much richer.
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And all of this depends on offshoring profits and using cheaper labor outside of the country.  This is the problem with all of the ‘first world’ nations that fell for ‘free trade’ and now are seeing their home industries ravaged and jobs literally flying off to distant lands.  Here is one example this week:  Australian airline foreshadows major restructuring and shift to Asia
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The fact that Joyce’s address was delivered in the national capital indicates that Qantas anticipates the full backing of the Gillard Labor government in the confrontations ahead with the airline’s workforce….While the trade unions covering engineers, pilots and ground crew claim they will not accept any agreements that do not include job security provisions, they have consistently worked for many years with Qantas and other airlines to slash working conditions and jobs, under the banner of making Australian carriers “competitive.”…

…Politically, the unions are working to prevent any confrontation of workers with the precarious minority Gillard government, which has repeatedly pledged to back big business in its demands for higher productivity and “global competitiveness”.

Labor’s Fair Work industrial legislation permits employers such as Qantas to lock out strikers and use scabs, take punitive action against so-called “illegal” strikes, call for police operations against picket lines and impose massive legal penalties on workers.

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A key component of all offshore efforts is to also kill the unions and to drive retirement age benefits up in time so workers can’t retire.  This enlarges the labor pool while forcing more people to work harder, for much less.  Then, the profit advantage flowing to nonworking rich hoarders will rise.  Meanwhile, the Chinese model is to raise interest rates which China did again, this week, and build infrastructure for the public:  A marathon span: World’s longest sea bridge opens 
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The Jiaozhou Bay bridge is 26.4 miles long, according to Guinness World Records. It links China’s eastern port city of Qingdao to Huangdao island.

State-run CCTV said the 110-foot-wide bridge cost more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion). However, the Xinhua news agency put the cost at $2.3 billion and Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported its price tag totalled more than $8.8 billion.

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The US is busy selling off public systems while China is enlarging these.  This is the difference between a bankrupt empire and a growing imperial power.  The recent US attempts at using our navy to enlarge Vietnam, South Korea and Japan’s territories has been a total failure as these countries desperately need a strong China to stay alive since the US is rapidly going bankrupt!  And the GOP is insuring this bankruptcy with their game of ‘chicken’ even as the Taliban lick their chops with anticipation of the US retreating with tail between our legs, from their blighted lands.

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The Taliban represents evolution in its older, bloodier form.  The US wishes to daintily crush them using our tools while they use raw courage and a willingness to die to fight us.  And this is a paradox of evolution: the US like Japan, seems bent on exterminating itself rather than fighting tenaciously for the survival of our culture or social systems or ‘tribe’.  We are not a tribe, we are modern citizens!  Which happens to be a recent concept less than 250 years old.  And which is being killed by greedy, fearful hoarders.

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34 Comments

Filed under .money matters, Free Trade, gold, religion

34 responses to “Rich Hoarders Are Destroying Our Society

  1. CK

    The world has many places. All of them have virtues. A productive person can find a place to be productive where he will not be a victim of political theft for a little while. The scenery is beautiful in so many places, the waters are blue, the people are happy and welcoming. So if it isn’t here then it will be elsewhere. Once they came flocking to the freedom of here, the freedom is gone and the flocking move to other freer places. Tax away tax away … 0.001% of the populace pays 10.5% of the taxes. Human milch cows.
    Every day a few thousand more creators and payers just quietly decide to cut back, to retire early, to move away, to expatriate. Not to worry there are always more milch cows to be found … aren’t there?

    ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

    ELAINE: Since the top 2% hold nearly 50% of the wealth, taxing them for only 10% of the tax revenues is INSANE. It should collect 50% of all tax revenues! You don’t tax the poor. They have nothing to give.

  2. Paul S

    This is just from my own narrow experience and perspective, but here goes. When it comes to the religious Right, my perception of their attitude towards wealth is that IF you are a good, God-fearing Christian you will be rewarded with riches! I don’t know where in the Bible it says this, but I believe this is EXACTLY what the religious Right believes to be true. But there is another part of this viewpoint that is less well known, imho. They never come right out and say this, but I think the religious Right actually believes that the poor DESERVE to be poor. This is because the poor are not Christians and deserve their fate. And….Whoomp! There it is! The religious Right’s justification for NOT having any compassion for the poor! “The poor are sinners; they deserve to be poor”. I guess it is just a coincidence that many of the religious Right are financially much more secure than average. lol.

  3. “Much of what passes for ‘archeology’ is the digging up or finding in caves, these various items buried with the dead. This is so universal, bodies buried with various bits and pieces of wealth and goods are found all over the planet.”

    That’s the glamorous part. Most of the rest of archeology consists of looking at people’s trash.

  4. Speaking of archeology, I have a compilation of archeology posts demonstrating that sustainability problems including indoor air pollution and real estate booms and busts (yes, really) have been with us for a long time, in addition to recent issues of cultural preservation because of development, corruption, and war. You and your readers might find them interesting, as well a fodder for future blogging.

    Sustainability in unexpected places: archeology 1

    Note the 1 at the end. I plan on having more posts about archeology as an example of sustainability in the future.

  5. adamm

    Modern citizens: brought to you by the elites and their utopian or is that dystopian dreams:

    Current schooling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ogCc8ObiwQ&feature=related

    Classical schooling: Trivium

    The elites believe their own koolaid now and for some time.

    The Taliban are not “educated” so they use common sense and cannot be fooled by propaganda of “hearts and minds”, nor “democracy” nor lure of VISA cards, etc.

    Shame on us for believing “our” western system was built for the 99% of the people ie the peons… maybe it was, for a while ie during a desperate war effort. That went away in one generation…. those who forget history.. are doomed.

  6. Alex Yam

    If the world were a village of 100:

    Seems like nothing has changed for the past 100,000+ years.

  7. Clueless

    What has to change. Conditioning 101

  8. floridasandy

    i think the mistake here is to assume that more taxation will fix the problem, and it CANNOT mathematically anymore. those who want to take from others have increased disproportionately.

    just the concept of demanding that others turn their stuff over to you is repugnant to me. i wouldn’t want to take anything from anybody else. i don’t think you get a good society with that mentality. the crooked rich should be thrown in jail, but that is another government problem since the government should be doing the prosecution, but is not.

    i don’t believe in giving them any more money until they do their job correctly, and that includes punishing the crooks.

    ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

    ELAINE: Anyone wishing to live in a place with zero taxes are free to leave. But they don’t leave. They need our vast military machine which is very expensive. So they grimly hold on here. They need to use our national credit, too! So that is valuable to them for many reasons.

    Taxing the rich when running a trillion dollar war makes perfect sense. If the rich don’t want all of these anti-Muslim wars, they can easily terminate them by closing all our military bases and while at it, closing the zillions of bases in Asia and Europe, none of which help any Americans or make us one whit safer.

  9. you so hit the fucking nail in the head elaine. when you talked about honing weapons, i immediately thought about how my uncle would react if he thought somebody “was out to take his guns”. and my uncle is very, very rich even if you only count his gun collection.

  10. CK

    In the news this morning, it was remarked that employment for last month rose an imperceptible 18K jobs and the unemployment rate went up instead of down. ( The nattering heads had hoped for 100K increase ) But as an aside, government employment ( non productive employment, tax eater employment fell ( for the first time EVAH by 36K ).
    So as far as production of goods and services goes, the decline in govt employment will have a positive effect. Another way to look at it is that productive workers increased by 54k.
    And in a further aside, most of the 18K new jobs were for bedpan handlers, drink pourers, and waitstaff. Well educated college degreed debt slaves serving drinks and pouring piss out of pans. It is the BushBama America.

  11. Claire Voyant

    @CK
    “government employment ( non productive employment, tax eater employment)” … “the decline in govt employment will have a positive effect …”

    No, it won’t necessarily, CK. States are laying off teachers, cops, firemen. “Unproductive tax eaters?”

    How will you feel when you are robbed on the street and no cop comes to your aid, because, well, “cops just eat taxpayer money, and we don’t need tax-eaters.” What were you doing out on the street anyway, CK, without your own private bodyguard? OH, you can’t afford a private posse? Shame on you then, you unproductive economic unit. You got what you deserved. Now get back to work … oh sorry, your job’s just been offshored. We found 5 starving Indians willing to work for a little dish of dog food at the end of the day. And they’ll even share it … why should we waste the money providing 5 different dishes — how redundant! — when they can all share the one?”

    CK’s America, folks. Beggar thy neighbor. Coming soon to a street gutter near you!

  12. Claire Voyant

    Actually, CK, you and I may be making similar points. I apologize if I’ve mischaracterized the intent behind your post, as I suspect I may have. What’s going on in the country today, and across the globe makes my blood boil.

    @floridasandy, a certain level of taxation to provide public services like crime and fire-fighting, road maintenance, education, levees, snow removal, a legal system, etc. — yes, and health care too, in my view — is the price we pay to live in a civilized society. I don’t see it as someone “taking” something from me, I see it as my obligation to chip in to provide the amenities we all require to live our lives more pleasantly, in good health and with an educated, trained and well-disciplined mind.

    Problem comes when elected officials who should be stewards of the public wealth get co-opted by the rich and nasty. As many point out here, so many oligarchs are not fellow citizens, and multi-national corporations owe allegiance to no one but themselves. Neither has a vested interest in public well-being, rather, they seek to take advantage of the infrastructures of a civilized society and are looking to co-opt a nation’s riches for their own.

    I’m lighting my torch and sharpening my pitchfork. I applaud the Greek citizens, British students and Chinese workers who rebel against hese tgreedy parasitic overlords. Aux armes, citoyens! Time for a little street justice!

  13. CK

    @Claire You have a strange image of what the police do. The one thing they do not do is stop crime. The existence of the police does not prevent crime. They very very rarely apprehend criminals after crimes are committed against persons or property. Not having them around is a good thing. But they are good at syphoning money out of productive peoples pockers for make believe crimes. Even when the police know that crimes will be taking place ( as in the Baltimore Harbour this past 4th and all over Philly recently) they make themselves invisible until well after the rampage is over and the bodies are cooling.
    Given the wonderfulness of the outcomes of american public education, removing the current crop of teachers and administrators and DOE drones is a good thing also. I give you as just one example the current Atlanta grade changing scandals. Teachers and Administrators redoing the failing work of their students so that the No Child’s Behind Left Alone tests scores would be high enough to get more tax money. Losing them is a net gain.
    Cops basically just eat taxes and donuts and now they do it in laughable militarized style while killing puppies.
    Hope you don’t fly often Claire; or if you do that you are not attractive enough to guarantee the mandatory feel up and crotch grab from you “police”, unless of course that kind of state mandated crime is acceptable to your idea of a “civilized society.”
    I do agree the offshoring thing is just horrid, trust your government and you too will find your ass in a sling. That is why I never worked for someone else’s sheckel. Self employed, root hog or go hungry every day of my life so far. It’s a good life when you call no man master and owe no obligation to fulfill someone else’s demented desires for the unearned, the taxed, the stolen.
    There is little crime fighting; there is much crime creation and crime enabling. Of course there is little crime fighting because there is little and decreasing real crime. Lots of faux crime like drugs or sexting or some such folderol but the incidences of rape, murder, highway robbery, etc etc … going downhill.
    No one is stopping you from chipping in ( tithing ) any % of your own renumerated productivity you want for any number of things you desire. I resent like hell the idea that because you like something, I am supposed to chip in for it involuntarily; and that if I don’t chip in for it my life is forfeit.
    All taxation is theft.

  14. CK

    @Claire:
    I cannot resist. In your second posting you finishe with “Aux armes, citoyens! Time for a little street justice!” I am reminded of how well that worked for the WTO demonstrators in Seattle. Now there is something your beloved police do enjoy. The chance to play little toy soldier and beat the shit out of innocent but angry civilians. When you call for rebellion, when you call for vigilantism, when you call for hanging em from the lampost, it is good to remember that it will probably not be you who gets to determine who hangs.
    The wonderful urge to authoritarianism is everywhere.

  15. DeVaul

    Here is what the super rich do not want to pay for:

    Police officers and their equipment

    Firemen and their equipment

    Teachers and their supplies and schools

    Roads, bridges, hospitals, libraries, courts and their staff, national guards and their ships and plans, etc.

    Since the top 1% own more than 50% of all wealth in the country, the police and firemen spend 50% of their time protecting the assets of the rich. Teachers educate and prepare workers for the factories and industries owned by the super rich. The army protects their person from foreign assault as well as all their wealth, even if it is abroad. The courts protect them from any kind of prosecution for crimes against others as well as spending countless hours litigating their lawsuits against each other and their numerous businesses.

    Despite all this largesse and work done for the super rich, they still do not want to pay for it — not even a single dime if they can help it. Instead, they fob it off onto the “little people” (peasants) and scream about the evil of taxes.

    Once they have squeezed a nation totally dry of all wealth and ability to protect their precious assets, they leave it to die in the gutter while they search for greener pastures to strip bare once again.

    The super rich have never left a prosperous nation behind them, which is a strong clue as to how they became rich in the first place.

  16. CK

    Funny that, what I have seen is that the very rich, pay extra for services that they wish to receive. They have paid security forces because the local babyblues have too many other things to avoid doing to be of any use when the lower orders get uppity. The wealthy usually have some form of paid local fire protection also. It works quite well. They can even allow that to be loaned out when the lower orders set their asses on fire with cheap crack pipes.
    The very wealthy usually send their brats to quality education institutions from elementary school through grad school. Quality education is not cheap.
    Good institutions of real learning are worth what they charge. Quality always deters the riff raff.
    The wealthy buy books and many of then can actually READ and comprehend without whispering the words and tracing the sentences with their finger.
    On top of all that out of pocket spending, the very wealthy 1% in the USA contributes about 40% of the theft by taxation used to pay for all the other dross that the plebes demand with their democratic sores and whining.
    It is empires that leave national husks behind. The desire to spread thy national greatness to other peoples whether they wish it or not. The point of the sword is the costliest thing. And once your neocon rethuglicans and your national greatness democrats are finished spending what they don’t have to kill the brown folks and the yellow folks and the red folks and the black folks; there will indeed be nothing left.
    Well actually that is an overstatement, there will still be restaurants and bars to hire the newly minted college Phi Beta Kappas to pour drinks for tips; and emergency room triage mills to hire the bedpan runners and the catheter cleaners.
    But yeah blame the folks who worked or invented or inherited or created for whatever it is that makes your envy meter go off the chart.
    As I said up top of this thread, there are many places in the world. It’s not as empty as it was but it still has a lot of lovely and accepting places. When it gets too unfree here; there is always elsewhere. Amazing how easy it is to enjoy a place if you don’t believe you have to love it.
    Patriotism and Nationalism just rigged games for the rubes to watch
    U!! S!! A!! U!! S!! A!! it’s like nascar except the USA only turns right.

    ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

    ELAINE: My ancestors came here in leaky, primitive boats, hundreds of years ago. We happen to like this country and are appalled by what is happening and are willing to fight to change things. Giving up and running away is less and less an option since, unless you are very talented and of course, rich, no one wants you to come to their countries. Naturally, this creates tensions during depressions when masses of people want to flee dying economies. The US is now a dying economy and people have no where to go just like in the 1930’s, for example.

  17. DeVaul

    Wow, CK, it is hard to know where to start, but I will just ask a few questions.

    Who is it that loans money to these neocons to spread empire everywhere? The poor? Or the rich? (at interest, of course)

    Can you name a single country where the people are free from powerful elites and their super rich aristocratic buddies?

    Oh, and I do not consider wheeling and dealing on the telephone to be “work”, although it might be “creative” — in an immoral and criminal sense.

    I did not realize you held such disdain for the “lower classes” who must now bear the burden of paying off the bad bets of the “creative, hard-working” bankers and their financial whores in Congress. But hey! Better to be a souless financial whore than a member of the lower class. Right?

  18. floridasandy

    again, statistically we cannot tax our way out. we decrease private sector money and we decrease our GDP. the government grows bigger, as do our problems.

    we have an increasing government size. are we better off for it?

    i ask those who would take from others- is it okay for the world’s poor to take from you? they have less, so give up what you have for them. go on and send it to them!

    would you feel cheated or benevolent? wouldn’t we be better as a society to focus on getting everybody working and productive again. that is a stable healthy economy.

    oh, and start punishing the bad guys please.

  19. wellwell

    Elaine, the amygdala of chimps might be smaller than that of humans, but a recent story in the New York Times suggests that the low-hierarchy cooperation and concern for fairness that typifies the Berlin NY parade you described in your last essay is unique to humans, and that chimps engage in the small minded, distrustful, zero-sum hoarding that you denounce in this essay:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/science/05angier.html
    (see the quotes from David Sloan Wilson)

  20. floridasandy

    here is what i mean about punishing the fraud from the same paper that wellwell’s article came from:

    JPMorgan Chase reached a $211 million settlement with federal and state authorities on Thursday to resolve allegations that it cheated governments in 31 states by rigging the bidding process for reinvesting the proceeds of dozens of municipal bond transactions.

    if they did something crooked, why isn’t anyone in jail?

    why are they getting away with it and if the government won’t help you, who will?

  21. larry, dfh

    An Ivy League education isn’t necessarily so great, and the people who attend these schools aren’t necessarily so wonderful, just well connected. During the summer between freshman and sophomore year, my oldest son took two freshman level Econ courses at Harvard, got his driver’s license, and got a Bartender’s License. He claims the Econ courses @ Harvard were the easiest (A and A-). My wife earned her PhD from Virginia Tech. She has never had a problem securing a job, even at places where they were only looking from Stanford, MIT, and Cal Tech. To a large degree, I feel higher education in this country is alot of over-priced baloney.

  22. Claire Voyant

    @CK “When you call for rebellion, when you call for vigilantism, when you call for hanging em from the lampost, it is good to remember that it will probably not be you who gets to determine who hangs.”

    No, it will ultimately be the cops whom you despise. They WILL stand by idly as the rich crooks cower in their homes, afraid of the clamoring mobs.

    In 2008 after the meltdown, there were noisy demonstrations on the lawns of the mansions of back-country Greenwich where these parasites live. Cops stood by … their sympathies were not with the rich.

    The Praetorian guards often murdered despotic Caesars. Elaine has pointed this out many times … when social order breaks down, the military usually decide the winners. But while these things are being sorted out, there’s usually a bloodbath.

    “yeah blame the folks who worked or invented or inherited or created for whatever it is that makes your envy meter go off the chart.”

    I’m not blaming inventors or creators, CK. I’m an entrepreneur and a patent-holder and my company delivers real goods and service to actual customers. We’re a dying breed — there are costs associated with invention and marketIng, business development and production. I’m not envious of others who are rewarded for delivering real value.

    Neither am I contemptuous of those on the lower rungs of the ladder who are trying to see their way to the top by honest means. You know, those PhDs whose bedpan-emptying future you gloatingly postulate.

    I do realize that whatever advantages I enjoy are due not only to my own hard work, but also due to the good education I received, the decent roads I drive on, the library I visit nearly every weekend, the public and private universities &schools that have educated my daughters, etc. I could go on … point being, I realize I’m a member of society and have an obligation to contribute to society. And to work toward a just and honest society, the kind of world I prefer to live in.

    I don’t fantasize about flying off somewhere when people like you befoul the air, water, and civil discourse with solipsistic rants about what you imagine”They” –those people whom you disdain — are taking from you.

    No man is an island, CK, although you fancy yourself able to remove your carcass to one when the going gets tough. You feel no obligation to work toward a better world … to respect your neighbors … others’ work … or your customers ( they must include some of the Little People you despise — or do you sell only to fellow plutocrats)?

    What gives you the right to take and take from society without giving back? Whatever gave you the notion that, when things fall apart, you are excused from helping to clean up the mess?

    “I didn’t make the mess!” you snivel. “It was THEM — those bedpan-wielding PhDs! Who move their lips when they read, because they weren’t Left Behind! Those envious little folks, who didn’t inherit a bundle — they’re manifestly inferior in their choice of parents! Where’s my island paradise? Goddamn that private pilot — where’s the help when you need them?”

    Collective action.
    No cowardly escapes to fantasy island.
    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

  23. floridasandy

    claire voyant,
    very nicely worded post, but the entire solution to the problem rests with the government. they cover the fraud and they are the only place you can turn to fight the fraud-at least in a “civilized” society.

    they are the prosecutors of crimes! there will always be crimes, but there should be a barrier between us and the crimes-and there is not.

    so driving on nice roads (which we do not have) or admiring our crumbling infrastructure (because the money was stolen before the infrastructure got built-think new orleans for example) means NOTHING when we don’t have justice which needs to be rendered by the government.

    it’s not going to happen because the government leaders benefit from the fraud..

  24. floridasandy

    i see no point in continuing to pay tribute to a government which won’t fight fraud. that is feeding the beast.

    for the record, chimps are very territorial and will kill over their space.

  25. emsnews

    Why are chimps territorial? Simple: land=survival. Since day one, back when all the dinosaurs suddenly died off (a terrible time that was, too!) the survivors began to expand their own territories. Once all the ecological niches were filled, the bloody business of evolution took off in ernest as all living things struggled to expand their own territories. Whether plants or animals, nothing living EVER gives up territory unless forced by either a deterioration of living conditions or they were shoved out by something stronger.

    This business of ‘giving up’ is just plain silly. I believe in fighting back, big time. If one moves up to a better situation, this is different from being driven out of one’s home. The Irish who were driven out of Ireland in the potato famine didn’t do this because they lusted for new lands, they were forced out. They then missed their homelands, greatly.

    They then pushed out the natives of North America and Australia, both of which still, to this day, are upset about the wave of Irish driven out of Ireland and then being used to steal their lands! This is never ending and is the wellspring of a lot of historical tensions and hatreds and a lot of self loathing, too, incidentally.

  26. Claire Voyant

    @floridasandy
    I entirely agree with you about the wrong-doers going unpunished because they’ve bought off the system. I suspect our political views are polar opposites, but more and more, I find the so-called political divide to be just another false construct set up by the media to stir up animosities and misdirect peoples’ attention from the systematic looting going on in high places. Both inside government and inside the executive suite. And where the two of them meet, on K Street.

    There’s a lot of fear around the globe, but not enough of it in the coridors of power. The crooks are bold because they believe the fix is in. They will only become more greedy and more bold, because they’ve entered the Cave of Wealth and Death. By the time the smell the torches and the burning pitch, it’ll be too late.

  27. CK

    @Devaul:
    Question 1) Who loans? No one loans, the fed creates money out of thin air. Congress passes a military budget and the fed funds it.
    Question 2) Name a country… Not able to name a country that is free of elites and politicians. Somalia is the closest thing and everybody wants to destroy Somalia.
    Statement 1) Telephone work is not what I do. Some folks do good things with the internet or telephones or even dead tree mail. It is as creative as the person doing the doing.
    Statement 2) Bankers and their whores in congress. Ahyup I do believe that you have NEVER seen me say a good word about bankers or politicians. But in case you missed it: All Taxation is Theft. If you like being a thief or like the less arduous work of being a recipient of stolen goods; good on you.
    Statement 2a) My disdain for the hoi polloi. Yup. Were I rich I would probably be more liberal but I am not.
    Statement 3) Better to be a whore… Actually, it’s better to enjoy work and be productive on your own terms. But if the best one can do is sell one’s ass on main street; then be the best damn whore on the corner and eventually you can build your own bordello.
    @EMS: You think of it as “giving up and running away.” Folding a bum hand and leaving a rigged game are simply good decision making. If you want to stay and pretend to fight … enjoy the charade, the SCA is still fun.
    @Claire: I admire your fantasy beliefs. It does you proud. Noisy demonstations in CT that do nothing and harm nothing, the cops were told to stand and watch the yellers and screamers. Nothing happened, no rich bastards run up the lamppost. The paid lower orders did as they were instructed. You expect something different?
    You say you are a dying breed. I wonder if you have analyzed why that is so.
    Why should that which is the best, the most useful, the most productive be dying while the tax eaters, the willingly dependant flourish and expand like pond scum of a hot summer. Might it be those fantasies you swallow so fully, democracy? good religion? evil capitalists? intelligence being uniformly distributed? USA the indispensible nation?
    I see people get Ph.ds and have to tend bar or empty bed pans because there is no demand for their learning and you call it gloating? They did what they wanted and got what the market determined they should have. Not a gloat …maybe a bit of sadness for time and intelligence misdirected.
    Every person is an island in a civil society. And each island deals or does not deal as it sees fit and with whomever mutually sees fit to deal with each other. Neither coercion nor theft exist in civil societies.
    That you cannot fantasize about a better world does not mean that I have to pay for your failed imagination. As I said the world is full of nice places … some of them are good places for a productive person to go; others are good places for a statist to stay.
    I enjoy the way you attribute to me behaviours that are disgusting. The snivelling thing was good, the cowardly attribution is overused; and you might wish to recheck the definition of solipcism. You have misapplied it.
    Now it is true that I did not create the issues. Having not been a part of the creation of the screw ups, why should I be taxed with cleaning them up?
    Responsibility, authority and accountability if I remember the triad from my old management courses correctly. So no I am not going to collectively sacrifice my ass for your benefit. I am neither part of the problem nor part of anyone’s forced solution.

  28. CK

    So looking forward to the time when America’s Praetorian guards decide to determine who gets to play American Caesar. Let the tax eaters fight each other. Arm the politicians so that it looks like a “fair” fight.
    No more elections, the USA can take its rightful place among the banana republics of the western and southern hemispheres. Primus inter Pares.
    To all, my apologies for being so late in replying, I was working. Creating wealth for me and them as sees fit to deal with me. And not one piece of paper was involved, not one threat issued, not one unearned shekel spent.
    Craig”s list was involved. Brilliant thing Craig’s List, probably one of the reasons that all the negative economic folderol is not having such a profoundly negative actual effect. Unfortunately, my bagel baker informed me today that flour prices have doubled. Bagel prices will double next week.
    Time to work a bit less.

  29. emsnews

    I was out all day mowing the hay fields. The swallows followed me about the upper pastures, swooping in and out to catch insects the mower raised out of the high grasses. I startled a doe and her two fawns who were hidden in the high grass. Ravens flew down to walk here and there, poking around for mice and moles wherever I cut the grass.

    This is life. And while mowing, I have time to observe nature and think about things. The process of thinking is clearer if one is mowing. Thinking about the value of my land, the condition of the hay, how much it has rained lately, thinking about many things.

    Yes, things are going poorly and this is due to thinking humans wishing for things instead of heeding nature and trying to understand the complex forces that intersect with us at every level. I believe all people should spend at least one day a year, mowing hay fields and raking hay. This is what most people did every summer in Europe for a thousand years.

    What they were all missing was a key skill: the ability to read and write. This is so valuable, it is without price! Yet, we view it as cheap! Swallows, deer and ravens can read…nature like a book. This is how they survive. They are not so stupid as to imagine they can ignore the writing in the grass.

  30. Nalu Girl

    Paul S. said “They never come right out and say this, but I think the religious Right actually believes that the poor DESERVE to be poor.”
    This is an example of what I call Social Calvinism. The basic idea behind Calvinsim is that the Elect are pre-chosen by God, and that if you are wealthy and successful, it is because God favors you. If you are not, you deserve what happens to you, because you are obviously NOT one of the chosen Elect. Thus, there is no need for society to aid you.
    A correlary to this is that it does not matter what you do, or who you step on on your road to wealth, because since you succeed and are wealthy, God obviously approved of your method.

  31. @CK

    Be sure you take care not to set one foot on those public roads paid for by generations of taxpayers or partake of a single sip of treated drinking water that’s been generously provided by more of the same straight from the tap.

    Rugged individualist my ass. You wouldn’t last a week in Somalia no matter how tightly you clutch that dog-eared copy of Ayn Rand’s favorite delusions.

  32. CK

    But dear Coldtype I too am a victim of the thefts that fund those roads and those water treatment plants. Look at my empty pockets you hard hearted greedy thief. My stolen taxes commingled with all the other stolen taxes paid for the roads and the B-2s, the national parks and the Seal Team 6s.
    As for the rest of your comment, is that really the best you can do? I never claimed that I was some “Rugged Indivualist”, mentioned Somalia only as an answer to a question to name a country currently without elites, and having never met Ms. Rand have no way of knowing if she was delusional or merely a very successful author. Buffoon.

  33. “I never claimed that I was some “Rugged Indivualist [sic]”-CK

    What do you think is implied by such statements as: “All taxes are theft”, or “I feel there should be no taxes”? I mean really? Are you truly this dense? You want the benefits of civilization–clean drinking water, vaccinations, public roadways, an educated population, emergency services, etc.–but you don’t think you should have to chip in to pay for it. You’re a child. Grow up.

  34. CK

    What is implied by “All taxes are theft.” A truth is stated.
    What is implied by “I feel that there should be no taxes.” An opinion is stated which follows logically from the previously stated truth. I believe that stealing is wrong.
    None of the things you list needed be funded by theft. That some of them are is a shame; but it is also a reality. I tend to not ignore reality.
    What is taken at the point of a gun or by the threat of enslavement in durance vile is not “chipping in.”
    As almost all citizens do, I allow the theft from my pocket to avoid the imprisonment of my body or the ending of my life by the taxeaters.

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